If you've been to Fore Street, you're probably familiar with its older-sister restaurant Street and Co., just a few blocks closer to the water in Portland's cobblestoned Old Port district. It's where you go for dinner if you love seafood—especially shellfish and pasta. Two of my favorite food groups.
Most people would probably say that the kitchen's signature entrée is the Lobster Diavolo ($42.95 for two): a shallow cauldron of mussels, clams, calamari, and a whole lobster, split down the middle so that its briny tomalley spills into the spicy sauce. It's a magnificent-looking dish and it's high on my to-try list for sure, but I have yet to make it past two of the restaurant's other standards: the Grilled Lobster on Linguine with Butter and Garlic ($29.95), and the Shrimp with Tomato and Capers over Linguine ($21.95).
I'm pretty easy when it comes to lobster. I like it cooked any which way; I actually enjoy all the messy cracking and digging and poking to extract the meat; and I don't even quibble very much over it being cooked to precise doneness. (Confession: I kind of enjoy a hint of rubberiness.) That said, there's something about grilled lobster—and all grilled shellfish, I suppose—that I particularly enjoy. Smoky char + briny sweetness + the plump, tender chew of lobster = I just struck lucky at dinner.
Here, the body is split lengthwise, thrown on the grill until it's bright red and splotchy black in places, and then loosely reassembled into a pan of buttery, garlicky noodles. (I highly recommend squeezing that lemon wedge over the dish; it's exactly the brightness needed to counter all those rich ingredients.) If the lobster spent a minute too long over the fire (everyone else at the table noted the meat was a little tough), I didn't notice. I was too busy scraping out the roe and tomalley and mixing them into the sauce. Mmm, ocean plunder.
I'm also pretty easy when it comes to shrimp, but these were perfect: juicy, springy but not rubbery, and super sweet. Frankly though, it was the sauce that made the dish. Maybe it's because most red sauces I've had are flawed—too sweet, too watery, too sharp—but this was really impressive: Thick but not tomato paste-y, bright, and savory. I thought there had to be a touch of seafood stock in the mix, but it turns out that the base is just tomatoes and herbs, and that they sauté garlic, shallot, and anchovy and add it to the sauce when they pick the dish up for service. Somebody should write a tribute to anchovies. Those little suckers work some serious savory magic.
Street and Co.
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